Crafts, Industry and Employment

  • J. Forbes Munro
Part of the Studies in Economic and Social History book series (SESH)


THE ‘open-economy’ model accepted by British policy-makers and businessmen for most of the colonial period assumed that growth and development in Tropical Africa would be achieved through trade with the world in general, and with Britain in particular, in a complementary exchange of primary products against manufactures. Such a relationship would not necessarily preclude the emergence of some modern manufacturing industry in Africa, as had indeed occurred in India before 1914, but any industrialisation would have to come about spontaneously, as a result of market forces exploiting conditions of comparative advantage, and should not be ‘artificially’ induced by the state. Such a policy, it has been argued by nationalist writers from Hamilton and List to present-day dependency theorists [74] merely served to maintain the gap between the less developed and the more developed economy, and the reliance of one on the other. ‘Deindustrialisation’, in the form of a decline of handicraft industries, would proceed further and faster than the growth of new factory-based manufacturing and industrial employment.


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Copyright information

© The Economic History Society 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Forbes Munro
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Economic HistoryUniversity of GlasgowUK

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